MIAMI — Hawaiian Airlines celebrated its 90th birthday on Monday with a special flight replicating the carrier’s inaugural voyage on November 11th, 1929.
The day began with a plane pull competition fundraiser at Castle & Cooke Aviation hangar near the John Rodgers Airport site, where the airline’s first flight took off from. The event attracted about 2,000 participants from throughout Hawaii and raised over $33,000 for Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a nonprofit organization.
Flight HA 1111 departed from Honolulu (HNL) at 9:35 AM en route to Hilo (ITO) with a stop in Kahului (OGG). The flight time and route were identical to the airline’s first flight 90 years prior, except that its 128 passengers were traveling in a Boeing 717 as opposed to the two Sikorsky S-38 amphibian aircraft that former Inter-Island Airways had flown in 1929.
Passengers were greeted by crew members wearing vintage Hawaiian uniforms from the 1960s through the 1990s. With beverage service, those on the flight were offered a copy of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from the day of the maiden flight.
The headline from the newspaper highlighted the first flight. The cover featured a quote from founder Stanley Kennedy, reading “The air is now yours. [Hawaiian Airlines] looks upon this occasion with a great deal of pride as the pioneer in commercial aviation.”
The approximately 35-minute flight from Honolulu to Kahului was filled with fun facts about the airline and company milestones presented by crew members. The flight concluded with each passenger being offered a birthday card along with 90,000 HawaiianMiles, which equates to 2 roundtrips from Hawaii to the mainland United States or 12 trips within the Hawaiian Islands.
Upon arriving in Kahului, passengers were met with leis and a musical performance offered by Hawaiian Airlines employees.
In response to the ceremony, Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram commented, “The foresight of our founder Stanley Kennedy to introduce Hawai‘i to commercial aviation forever changed the way we travel across our archipelago for leisure and business.”
The carrier has grown substantially since Kennedy’s founding, carrying over 12 million last year for an average of 30,000 passengers daily.